Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bonerama - Mr. Go

It starts with horns blowing a tight and urgent alarm. It builds with intensity and anxiety like the soundtrack of a Hitchcock film. And then it breaks into a smooth groove that can only be achieved by a great New Orleans brass line.

Bonerama retells the tale of "Mr. Go," that much hated shipping channel that runs from near Michoud in New Orleans East out to the Gulf of Mexico.

"Twenty feet of water on my crowd,
Mr. Go you bringing me down.
Cypress swamps used to be,
Mr. Go it's broken these.
St. Bernard and Plaquemines,
Lower Nine coming back again.
I don't know what's been said,
Mr. Go you killed them dead."

Craig Klein wrote and sings the lament, delivered at a slightly slower pace than a march, but with an arrangement that soldiers forward through the blues and into post-K victory.

From the CD "Bringing it Home," "Mr. Go" is just one of the outstanding tracks on this 2007 collection of bone-crunching covers and brass-jam originals. Bonerama bills itself as a rock band, and sometimes they really are. But that label limits their artistry in so many ways.

Just listen to the creative use of the sousaphone on this track. New Orleans brass bands know how to toot the tuba at the end of each chord progression, but Bonerama gives the lowest horn an entire solo lead toward the end of the song. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Bonerama recorded "Bringing it Home" at Tipitina's so the CD captures all the spontaneity of a live show that you wish you had been a part of. Regular readers of this blog will know that science does not validate the popular belief that the MR-GO served as a "storm surge super highway" during Hurricane Katrina. But I will not quibble with facts here--this is good rock'n'roll and I love it.

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